It’s all in the family
It is all about family on this farm in Faribault County, which is why they were chosen as the 2015 Farm Family of the Year.
Milt and Donna Steele were recognized at the Faribault County Fair and at Farm Fest as the Farm Family, an honor which they hold very near and dear to their hearts.
“There are a lot of very deserving families,”?Donna says.
“We are very honored,”?Milt agrees. “There are just as many families that are just as deserving.”
But, they were happy to receive the recognition this year, and they made the trip to Farm Fest on Thursday, Aug. 6.
“They treated us very well it was an honor,” Donna says. “It would be nice if every farm family could be recognized.”
The event consisted of the Farm Families from various counties around Minnesota being recognized along with a professional photographer who was there to take each family’s photo with their plaque.
What made it even more special to Milt and Donna was that almost their whole family was able to be there.
The Steeles farm 500 acres and finish cattle on their farm located south of Blue Earth. In fact, this is a location Milt is all too familiar with.
“We actually live on the farmsite where Milt?was born,” Donna says.
There are currently two houses on the farm; Milt and Donna live in one and their son Nathon lives in the other.
The Steeles have three children, all of whom make a point to help out on the farm during busy times.
Heather and her husband, Jake Anderson, of Frost, have four children.
Eva and her husband, Mark Adams, live just south of Winnebago and have a farm of their own.
And, Nathon and his wife, Amanda, have one son and do foster care.
“Growing up, the kids all helped out in some way or fashion,”?Milt says.
In fact, they will all return home to help when it is needed.
“It (farming) really is a family affair,” Donna adds. “We are fortunate they are all so close.”
One could say farming is in their heritage. Milt was born and grew up on the very farm they live on now. But, Donna also has a background which is strong in farming, which is why it was so easy to pass those values on to their children.
“I grew up on a farm. Although I?didn’t operate much machinery, I did chores and other things around to help out,” Donna says.
Then, she and Milt were married and moved on to the farm.
“When we got married things changed,”?Donna says.
First of all, Donna grew up using John Deere equipment.
“We have Internationals,” Milt says.
And, after getting married, Donna was ready to help out more with operating machinery around the farm especially when it came to harvesting the crops.
“For a number of years, she would work until noon and then come home and help when I was ready to pick,”?Milt adds.
And, with how much has changed in farming technology over the years, it has made operating the machinery a little easier to figure out.
But, farming isn’t all this family does. They all have made an impact on the community; in ag related and other ways.
Donna worked for the Faribault County Extension Office for more than 20 years, a position from which she recently retired.
“I worked through the county fair,” she explains.
Donna is also involved in Oddfellows/Rebekah’s Lodge, just finishing up her year as the State president of the club.
“That was a busy year,” she adds.
During that year she devoted herself to leading a project that would benefit individuals needing dialysis pillows.
She and other volunteers would work together to make pillowcases for travel pillows that dialysis patients could bring along when they get treatments.
Donna is also a master gardener, is a member of the Main Street Sewing Society and a member of Hope United Methodist Church of Blue Earth.
Milt helps out at the sale barn in Blue Earth and is a member of the Faribault County Fair Board and the Soil and Water board.
But, when it is all said and done, two things are important to the Steeles family and farming.
“Farming is a wonderful way of life,”?Donna adds. “And it really is a big business; it’s a business that is just as important as going in to town to work.”